Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Zealous Learner

I may not be Joe Paterno or Vince Lombardi, but I am an instructional coach on a mission. My mission is that of a learner, the most important hat I wear. My team expects me to be knowledgeable, to be on the cutting edge, and to be able to deliver the most up-to-date and valuable information. In other words, at least one step ahead of them! That is not always easy in my community of learners and leaders.

The past several weeks, I’ve participated in many activities to be a Learning Leader. I’ve gone to state conferences, attended local meetings, read a literacy text, participated in collegial conversations, and been totally involved in the world of on-line conferences.

State Math Conference
I traveled to Orlando to attend and present at FCTM, Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics. While participating I attended two valuable sessions presented by the Florida Department of Education. The first was a presentation by Rob Schoent and Todd Clark from the Math Department on the newly adopted mathematics standards. To see their Power Point presentation visit , scroll down to Oct 11-12 FCTM Power Point presentation. The second was hosted by Steve Ash of the Testing Department on the implications to FCAT based on the new standards. To view their Power Point visit the above page and click on Oct 12 FCTM Presentation.

I immediately shared my new learning with the two math coaches in my building. They are in the process of creating a plan to share the new information during their Teacher Meetings and WOW Days.

District Math Council
I went to DEMC, Duval Elementary Math Council, with six other Chets’ Teachers. The presenter was James Williams from America’s Choice. His message was about students’ misconceptions in mathematics, and how teachers can help resolve misconceptions. He presented a well researched and written intervention program, Mathematics Navigator, which targets students’ misconceptions. Chets has been using the program for the past two years and the results have been unprecedented.

I’ve been reading, Significant Studies for Second Grade by Karen Ruzzo and Mary Anne Sacco who teach at the Manhattan New School. The Second Grade Pacing Guide needs infused with new ideas and resources so I’ve turned to this book to help. I’ve found it so user friendly that I now have it on order for the whole 2nd grade ELA team. We will begin a book study as soon as it gets here. The plan is to implement the non-fiction part of the text after the first of the year followed by the dialogue lessons in early February. I’ll keep you posted about student work and performance based on this implementation.

At the same time I’m reading this text, I’m in search of what I’ll read next. I think I’ll turn to Stephanie Parsons. The 1st Grade Team has recommended Second Grade Writers which is hot off the press, because they’ve used the First Grade Writers in their Pacing Guide for several years.

Collegial Conversation
My most valuable learning opportunity comes at the hands of my talented and knowledgeable literacy colleagues, dayle and Melanie. Like a sponge, I try to absorb their every word and walk away with a wealth of information. In the past two weeks alone, they have opened my eyes to the world of blogging, twittering, social bookmarking, and on-line conferences. Their passion is contagious and I will forever be grateful!

K-12 On-Line Conference
Because of the collegial dialogue, I’ve spent countless hours listening to keynotes and presentations, and reading comments and blogs. I am astonished that sitting in the comfort of my own home, I can attend an educational conference. I hear and see the information first hand and simply send a link to my team for them to see the same message I’ve received. This has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I am ecstatic!

The learner in me is glowing!


Melanie Holtsman said...

The feeling is get me thinking....and help me be realistic!! You are a model coach and our school is so so so so lucky you came back this year!

dayle said...

A Standards Coach is the leader of the coaching team in both Literacy and Math/Science. You lead our team with such grace, modeling what it is to always be a learner. You are a model for each of us and we are each better because of your support, your strength and your firendship. We depend on you in so many ways. Thanks for being the kind of leader that makes a difference!